Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation
Delaware Valley Collese
Stephanie Ruth Scarboroush
Rebecca J. Walter
Dr. Linda Kandel Kuehl
1997-1998 Gleaner Staff
Robin M. Goldblum
Elizabeth Ann Leiter
Marie S. Zmijewski
"The Burning Bush"
Dr. John Mishler
Special thanks to the following:
Dr. Linda Maisel for coordinating The Gleaner hiigh School Writing Competition
Mrs. Edna Manlove for her technical assistance
Mr. Barry Denlinger and PTGraphics, Inc., for their time and generosity
A Traveler by Twilight
Such nights as these! Such nights as these!
Gazing into remnants of some Autumn storm,
Born of Atlantic calm,
Lightning embraces the whipping course.
Of jagged-drawn winds, intensity equal to pride borne.
Slandered remembrance of a fiery kiss.
Passion raging, all consuming.
Resolution strengthens the quailing heart.
While sheltering blackness and watery curtain
Hide the flowing tears shed.
I, alone, standing, a sentinel.
Guarding the secrets regarding hiell;
Lucifer contriving to banish hope.
With misery wrought of tumult, ebbing the tide of human
On such a night as this!
Such nights as these! Such nights as these!
The stillness overwhelming, listening.
As one feathery messenger of hieaven falls to join
Its companions on the quilted ground,
Streetlamp glare is hushed.
Harsh lines softened by inches of white.
The wind a whisper, seeking to cover.
Line of footsteps, unbroken but scattered.
As if host were unsure whither to next travel.
Frolicking, jumping, and falling, while shadows
Drown in royal
Etch the smooth, velvety cover of snow.
And I alone, in respite.
Some madness, some unknown joy,
Hath crept into the creator of that line.
Leading straight to the bearer of my lifting heart,
While frosty beauty spills everywhere
On such a night as this!
Such nishts as these! Such nights as these!
Late unto morning, stars have winked out,
Icy cold dew under bare feet mocks the warming ground.
Shimmering in moonlight.
I seem to have lost something here
In chilly April air,
Across the field a newborn filly nuzzles its dam,
Stirring the memory of lost life, a child I never knew,
Taken before its time,
Her spirit etched forever in my soul.
As gold-green leaves lay waiting to burst forth soon, but
On such a night as this!
Such nights as these! Such nights as these!
Storm has ended, mist is rising,
Rain still falling, this night is alive!
As haunted loons cry, and crickets sing.
The fireflies dance, half-hidden in Lake's gauzy shroud.
The ground, its dwellers and its sorry cleansed,
Sends forth a living scent.
I stand alone, left yet once more.
Miles away they celebrate something, a shallow feeling,
I will never be part of, but fear not.
Some portion of my soul still walks
Completely in this world, wondering.
If it is but a fading wraith.
Awaiting instruction for joining the truly living
To its counterpart of divided earth, water, sky.
And, but a traveler, I,
On Such a night as this!
To NightHawk., for teaching me to believe again.
To my roommate ^
in the event of a Fire Drill
When I die
let me go
like a potato
in my bed
one night late
on an otherwise uneventful date
my gorgeous thighs
McDonald's golden fries
Ann M. Algeo
Yesterday, Two Years Ago
Yes, my father died yesterday
'Twas just two years ago
Why can't he be here with me now
hie's in heaven, I know
Did he lay down to die?
Can I let him leave me?
Please can you help me find a way
I'm hurting, can't you see.
Yes, my dad left me and my mom
It has been just two years
I barely remember some things
I just see through my tears
Can I see you again?
Like angels will you fly?
For my mom, I have to stay calm
Just, please, don't say good-bye.
Min Skat (My Love)
Within the embrace
Of his strong arms,
My heart starts to race
As we discover my charms.
With his gentle hands
And his loving kisses
He frees me from the monster's bands
To let me pursue my v/ishes.
With kind v^ords and support
He helps me rebuild me
Like the storm-ruined port
After the destructive tsunami.
Rebecca J. Walter
I Never Made it to
The dancing flame illuminated the eager, hungry
faces as it pirouetted upward from the shiny Bic lighter like
a soul shooting from the depths of hell towards the grassy
Elysian fields. It bent around the tarnished, metallic rim with
an evil leer that foreshadowed its unholy purpose. As a key
unlocks a door, the flame washed the sweet, dry leaves and
released a magic carpet of smoke that would carry its
passengers to Never-Never Land. This smoke that
meandered through the hallowed gates of my body and
found its resting place within the palette or my soul.
My journey began that evening, a journey that
would follow a rainbow of dreams and take me to victual in
Heorot with God himself .... or so I thought.
That night was many moons ago in the past. Burned
into my memory are the vivid details like the scrawling on
an old tenement wall. With a grand twelve years of life
experience behind me, I stood tall and took on the world,
or at least the weight of it on my shoulders. It was a sultry
August evening in Austin, Texas, and a pack of my dearest
friends and I were living the personification of boredom. I
had done it all, or at least that is what I thought as I
sprawled across the old and beaten couch in Mike's
basement. Mike was a tall, lanky fellow with thin wisps of
hair crawling out from underneath his backwards baseball
cap, covering those beady and penetrating eyes. Those
eyes penetrated like a dagger into my mind when he voiced
a simple four word question. His roughly cracking voice
broke the silence . . . "You wanna get high?"
At twelve years old, I had learned all about drugs
in school, but never really paused to give them much
thought. In the five seconds that it took my to summon the
courage to reply, my solitary thought was, "Why Not?"
The answer to that fateful response came many cold winters
later when I had lost my teetering grip on reality and was
no longer envisioning a light at the end of a tunnel, but
instead was concentrating on the freight train of joy riding
straight to hell, wondering if I should jump . . . My answer
to those eyes was a simple, "What the hell, I ain't got
nothing better to do." That brilliant display of logic
eventually crowned me the leader of the pack, and
lemmings everywhere leaped onto that smoky magic carpet,
ending their own person sojourns in reality and beginning a
pilgrimage to the hallowed shores of Never-Never Land.
The pilot of that flight was always a simple Bic
lighter igniting some dry, crumpled leaves, freeing a
bittersweet, phantasmal guide that would lead the lost boys
and girls down the crooked staircase to the depths of
pandemonium. Looking down during this ride, I have
watched my traveling companions lose sight of the light of
the morning. I buried some of them, send letters to those
whose minds have deserted them, and send flowers
whenever one lands in a hospital after they discover they
cannot afford Charon's toll.
My own world was spinning out of control at one
point and I desperately wanted to stop the ride, but no
one would show me the brakes ... so .... I jumped.
After the crash, I began to use my mind to think, to
reason, and to explore this wonderful blue orb spinning
through space, instead of seeing it as a landing pad for
sprites and fairies that I was following through the sky . . .
towards the second star to the right ... the path that I
followed until the reality of morning woke me up.
In the simmering heat sat a lonely old man.
Cooling himself with breezes from a rusty fan.
hie could feel the hostile, stalking predator
Lurking closer to him more and more and more.
It spied on him with fierce red eyes,
1 2 Uttering no sounds, growls or cries.
With muscles tense, the creature struck.
Giving the man no time to duck.
A slow sigh escaped from his lips.
Into his chest the gray head dips.
A peaceful expression covers his face,
As Death prepares for a fearful new chase.
JLake a look around you. What do you see?
Do you see a forest? Can you even see a tree?
Take a look around you. What do you see?
Do you see a crowd of people? Can you even see ME... see me?
f beauty's in the eye of the beholder, then open up your MIND instead!
We don't need to choke a river to build a house, or make a loaf of bread,
hiard choices aren't convenient... but neither is being dead.
\-Van you see over your money? Can you see past your time?
Can you look beyond your backyard and see where it joins up with mine?
Take a look at the ground,- what do you see?
Another waste disposal systems, or your own DESTINY... destiny?
beauty's is the eye of the beholder, then open up your MIND instead!
We don't need to choke a river to build a house, or make a loaf of bread,
hiard choices aren't convenient... but neither is being dead.
JL here's been enough fingers pointin',- enough words thrown around.
There's already enough red tape to ChHOKE us, but show me one piece of healthy
Take a look around you. What do you see?
Do you see a bunch of problems, or an OPPORTUNITY... opportunity?
f beauty's in the eye of the beholder, then open up your MIND instead!
We don't need to choke a river to build a house, or make a loaf of bread.
hIard choices aren't convenient... enough said.
How Could You Do This?
How could you do this? My back against the headboard.
Arms wrapped around my knees pulling them to my chest. I watch
you pace. Your sneakers make no noise on the hardwood floor.
You walk to the left, then to the right/ your dry eyes never leaving
mine. You hold your shoulders upright, like a proud conductor in
front of this orchestra. When you stop pacing, your whole body
faces mine, opening and closing your fist, you say. Just tell me
Your appearance is strangely calm like you are in control,-
yet your lips quiver and voice wavers,- little bits of spit fly out as
you speak. Clenching your fists and pacing, you stare at me just
waiting to lose control. My eyes nervously scan the room and find
there is not escape because you pace in front of the door. I
contemplate the window and find the gun with its long barrel,
leaning against the wall, in the corner. I remember you showing me
how to use it for protection once. If anyone comes in here, you
just shoot 'em with this. It'll probably knock you on your ass,
but it'll knock them into the neighbor's house. The muscles in my
face droop in fear and I feel a burning rising up from my insides,
stopping at the back of my throat, tasting like burnt liquid. I
remember the story you told me of your drunken stepfather holding
a similar gun to your face when you demanded he stop hitting your
mother. Unafraid of death at that miserable moment in your
childhood you dared him to pull the trigger. And now, as you
proceed with your interrogation, back and forth, back and forth,
asking the same questions over and over, I am scared of you.
You sit next to me, reaching out to me with both hands,
not for comfort, but a gesture of despair. Your clear blue eyes are
so close to mine, but they are unfamiliar. They usually water when
you are touched by my action^ when 1 put on my baby voice, bury
my head in your chest and tell you that I love you. Now these
strange eyes contain a pain that runs deeper than love. Tears well
up and, without blinking, flow out the side like a watering hose.
The tears flow down to deep impressions in the sides of your
mouth like an empty river being filled once again. Just tell me what
I did wrong? You wait for me to answer. Your eyes stare hard with
eyebrows slightly raised and lips parted, exposing your bottom row
of teeth. Your face tells me strangely you hope I will say it was all
your fault; that you neglected me and I had no choice. You would
argue, but in the end you would say how sorry you were and how
you didn't know, and if it meant coming to this, you would have
changed. But you still can change, and you will, and please
understand you didn't mean to make me do it. That there's still
hope for us and how much you love me and that we will get
through it. You wait patiently and anxiously for me to say all this
and more because you know it will be easier for you to take the
blame. It always was. You expect me to bawl and tell you how
rough it's been all of these years being with you, and what else
could I do? The seconds linger and the quiet in the room is
immense. And you wait for my reply.
Help, No Help Needed
Without any effort on my part,
Without any choice on my part,
I became a male.
With some struggle
I became a man.
With some privilege
I became a husband
With great pleasure
I became a father
With some perseverance
' ° I earned a living.
With some conflicts
I became a Dad
With some regrets
I'm turning gray.
With great remorse and helplessness
I'll lay it all away.
Dr. Richard Ziemer
Please Touch Me
I am your baby,
Please touch me!
Not just when you feed me and diaper me
But stroke my legs, my arms, my back, my head.
Hold me close in tenderness
That says ~ I love you.
I am your teenager.
Please touch me!
need to feel a fond love coming through your hands, your
I need to see it in your eyes.
Hear it in your voice.
Even when we disagree.
Some of me is still a child ~
Please touch me!
I am a child with a family of my own.
Please put your arms around me
Mother, Father, when my heart aches
With heartaches you have known.
Now that I am a parent,
I see you differently and love you more.
When you embrace your grandchildren,
don't forget me!
I am your aging parent.
Please touch me
The way my mother did
When I was young.
My hair is coarse and gray
But please stroke it.
My hand is withered but hold it.
Embrace my tiring body.
I need your strength ~ Please touch me!
Anonymous Faculty Member
If you only knew how much you mean to me,
I sit and dream of the places you and I could be,
On the sand we are side by side,
Watching the waves as time goes by.
In a forest near a stream.
The sun shines through the trees with one single beam,
20 Caressing us both as we stand there.
Giving a silvery shine to the air.
In a clearing by a lake.
You turn to me, my hand you take.
Will I be yours, you ask of me.
For all time, as the endless sea.
As we gaze into the star lit sky.
Together forever will be you and I.
A Pale Blue Housecoat
My mother died when I was a child, nearly forty
years ago, and many memories of her have faded, but the
following episode, seemingly so trivial, became vividly
etched in my mind. It involved a peddler who visited our
neighborhood in the Bronx in New York City.
He would come to the door about once a month, a
huge suitcase strapped to his back so that his arms nearly
scraped the floor. As small as I was, I could peer into
bloodshot eyes. My mother made him tea, served in a milk
glass, while he removed the burden from his shoulders and
attempted to stand erect. He couldn't.
Waiting for the lid of his battered rectangular box to
be lifted, I planted myself in front of it, expectant and
curious, as if it were our little twelve-inch black and white
television. After three lumps of sugar and a wedge of
lemon were dropped in his glass, after he gulped twice and
wiped his steamed glasses, the bearer of treasures opened
his box and scattered the contents upon the vinyl kitchen
chairs, formica table top, and my lap ~ a rainbow of
garments, called housecoats by my mother.
She always bought something from him. How could
you not after studying the furrows framing his mouth, the
sparse white hair, and rheumy eyes: Willy Loman in the
flesh, but less affluent. On this particular morning, he
singled out two housecoats from the heap and extolled their
virtues. One was pale blue, with a navy bird stitched on
the pocket/ the other was identical except for color; an
aquamarine sporting a black bird. No budding Oscar de la
Renta, I was dazzled by the beauty of both.
"Which do you like?" my mother inquired. "You
pick the one I should take."
I was overwhelmed. She was allowing me to make
such a momentous decision. I was proud. She trusted my
judgment. I carefully wiped sticky hands on a corduroy
jumper and fingered both garments. I held each up to her
bosom. I dawdled and debated until the ancient peddler,
muttering something under his breath, placed a greasy cap
back on his shiny head. I was five and terrified of mistakes.
"Which one do you like," I threw back at my
mother, waiting to be rescued. No anchor was thrown.
"You choose," she insisted.
I pointed a stubby, nail-bitten finger, three crumpled
dollars were exchanged, and I held the pale blue
housecoat, staring into the navy bird's rhinestone eye.
Why do I remember that sloppily stitched bird so
vividly when I can barely remember what I wore yesterday?
Linda K. Kuehl
All of Me
I wonder if it can ever be just right,
someone can ever love all of me,
Not just my virtues.
Can someone adore my faults,
Solely because they are a part of me?
Can he appreciate the unevenness
Of my breasts,
And think it makes them ever more tasty,
For their distinct me-ness?
Can he inhale the odor of my filth.
And knowing it as my perfume.
Love its sourness?
He must find it ever so endearing.
That I wish so much for fairies to be
And wonder everlasting.
hie must not tolerate the absence
Of even one of my incongruent dreams.
But find them catching
And become sick with giddiness.
Enthusiasm, passion, and silly laughter
In my company
As I burst with this disease.
hie must know when to assure me
Of my beauty or creativity.
Certain of my ability.
But also keep me modest
Gently criticizing and suggesting
In an undemanding manner.
He must love my failures
Not just despite them,
But me with them.
My dear, do you love all of me?
Could you never do without
The memory of my willingness,
To embrace your presence,
That sweet January in the desert.
Because I knew,
The fit would be so perfect?
My love, do you understand
My need to be restless,
An artist and scientist
Seeking to envelop
All at once
And a little time?
My sweet can you relish all of me
Not excluding even one detail
Can you take the sweet with the
The bitter with the sweet?
Can you revel my strange spice.
Follow my recipe?
I wonder if it can ever be just right.
If you can ever love all of me.
Hunger for the Blade
Oh the achins inner pain.
No legal drug can relieve
The agony of the insane.
So up must slide the sleeve
To satisfy what is forbade ~
The hunger for the blade.
The struggle has begun.
Must think, must not cut.
Stop the flow or let it run?
Can't think, should I cut?
The choice that must be made ~
Feed the hunger for the blade?
A pattern that runs deep ■—
When hurt is great, hope is gone.
Slice the skin and let it seep.
Repeating pattern, rolling on.
The choice is long since made ~
Feed the hunger for the blade.
The flick of gleaming silver
Lets flow a blood red river
Of pain released, agony ceased.
If too deep, the source deceased.
The purchase price is paid —-
Fed the hunger for the blade.
Rebecca J. Waltc
The Vampire*s Lesson
Good evening, fair mortal! I do regret that this discussion could not occur during the day, but my £7
"condition" prevents that. Don't treat me like an innocent child, even though I may appear to be one,
for I am a hundred-year-old vampire. Louie, my companion, bestowed upon me his gift of darkness in
time to save me from the plague that mercilessly killed all. It preserves my youth and beauty forever.
hlowever, a vampire cannot remain unchanged vvithout blood. Unlike mortal drinking, blood
needs to be savored, every drop adored. This red wine of life demands a certain respect. To waste any
amount, no matter how small, is considered sacrilege among my kind. It warms our bodies, and calms the
ferocious hunger that burns deep inside of us.
First, the perfect victim must be chosen. A rich, vibrant, young individual tastes the sweetest and
most fulfilling. Avoid people displaying signs of disease, old age, poverty, and uncleanliness, for they
taste of depression and pain. Once the prey has been spotted, mesmerize them to accompany you to
any isolated spot. If so desired, have them take you out for a good time first, perhaps to the theater.
Usually, they will not need the money later in life.
As you lead the prey away from the warm glow of other mortals, an important decision must be
made. Does the victim deserve to be brought across and become one of the undead? Loneliness often
factors into the existence of a vampire. However, like the offspring of any mortal, nobody can predict
how the new vampire will treat the world. Many develop into ruthless killers that later need to be
Once alone, sink your elongated teeth into his exposed neck. The nectar of life will flow
generously down your throat as you feed. The victim will soon become weak, and the heartbeat will
begin to fade in your ears. Do not continue to drink once the heart has ceased beating. As death infects
the mortal, it contaminates the blood. If the corrupted blood enters you, incredible pain unlike any you
have experienced as a mortal will envelop your body. Death surrounds us always, but it must never be
allowed to touch us.
Finally, the empty shell of your latest victim must be laid to rest with great respect. We like to
believe that the souls of those we feed upon always go to heaven for their great sacrifice, leaving behind
the vacant body. A carefully hidden grave usually suffices, for the police can never seem to unravel the
mystery of our existence, hiowever, I prefer cremation. The spreading of the ashes over a special place,
like a park or ocean, seems more proper to me than a simple burial.
As the first mortal I have revealed the secret of our feeding process to, I hope you understand
that you cannot be allowed to leave. The exposure of this special knowledge to the public would be
detrimental to both my race's secrecy and yourself. Insane asylums are never fun. Besides, I need a snack
A Son-in-Law Reflects
Any mother-in-law joke embarrasses me when I reflect on Claire E. Yeakel, the most wonderful
mother-in-law a man could have. As I got to know her, she shared with me some hilarious jokes of her
own repertoire, most of them in the Pennsylvania German dialect.
I first met her when she and Forrest (Pop) Yeakel came to college to visit Adelle in the 1 950's.
She moved with grace and sported in a classy way those narrow, arched eyebrows which movie stars
wore in the 1 920's and 1 930's and a welcoming smile. In 1 960, I was invited to Quakertown for
Christmas and witnessed the busy Yeakel household at their bakery on Hellertown Avenue. No stranger
to work, this farm boy from Oregon pitched in to help Pop Yeakel move carts and trays of baked goods
from the store to the Q-Mart, to Leh's, and to various other destinations. I also gained ten pounds and
met many friends of the Yeakels.
Mom Yeakel was a special hostess to me, and four years later when I returned for another
Christmas vacation. Pop said, "Richard is going to propose,- he's not coming eight hundred miles just to
say 'Merry Christmas'." Pop was right. The following July we were married in Quakertown and I
became a romantic heart transplant to Pennsylvania. My identity as an outsider was established early by
saying, "I'm Adelle's husband",- and in reality I was Claire and Forry Yeakel's son-in-law.
I was around Adelle's mom for over thirty years ~ longer than I was around my own mother (yet
living, in Oregon). Adelle reminded me that biblically I had to forsake my father and mother,- wives
were not required to do this. Mom's smile of kindness was shed on me just as it was on many other
people in Quakertown when she decorated their cakes or put confectionery snapdragons on the backs of
children's little hands.
Several years ago Adelle, our daughter, my mother-in-law and I were delayed on a flight
returning from Florida. The stewardess played a game with passengers, rewarding us with bottles of wine
for coming up with correct answers,- one question was, "hlow many of you married people have pictures
of your mothers-in-law in your wallets or purses?" I was embarrassed as Mom looked at me and said,
"Richard! don't you have a picture of me?" Soon I inherited one of her wearing a pink suit and
portraying that warm smile.
When she made her last will, she asked what I would like to have to remember her by, and I
replied, "Your Buick or your next Buick." FHer influence on others in this community convinces me how
fortunate I was to marry into such a wealth of relationships. 1 997 has brought sorrow to many other
people too ~ some of them in far more tragic ways than I suffer. But I have since learned how
emotionally empty others also feel as a result of Mom Yeakel's death. She died sometime during the
longest night of the year ~ two days before Christmas. I could not even guess how bright hieaven must
have seemed to her in contrast to the darkness of that night and her pain. The outpouring of condolences
of friends and neighbors in this community since then overwhelms me. I could write a book about
experiences with Mom, but consider this a preface. As the pangs of grief eventually subside, look for a
smile on my face driving Mom's Buick.
Dr. Richard C. Ziemer
On Even Keel
WE IN THIS
WIDE OCEAN OF
A WORLD LOOK FOR THAT STABLE
OUALITY WHICH WILL GIVE US
^° SOMETHING TO BELIEVE AND
SOMEONE TO BEUEVE IN.
BE A RUDDER TO OUR
SHIP OF LIFE
US ON AN
Dr. Richard Ziemer
I WRITE FROM THE HEART
- FROM THE SOUL
- OUT OF HATRED
NOT IN THE DARK
OR FROM MYSELF
I JUST FEEL ALONE
ALONE - ALONE - ALONE
JUST LEAVE ME ALONE
"PLEASE COME BACK" "LATER"
WHEN I'M ALL ALONE
A Summer Romance
ice-cream or cubes
the crickets will pass
ill see you soon
Have A Nice Life
DOES ANY BODY KNOW WHERE I AM
WHO I AM
DOES ANY BODY CARE
"HELLO, NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN"
VANISH WITHOUT A TRACE
WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN
I GUESS SO
EVERYTHING I SEE AND DO
REMINDS ME OF YOU
HAVE A NICE UFE
Tiny gray stitches
In the white snow-quilt
That softly blankets the slumbering land.
At golden-rosy dawn,
The blue-white snow
A motionless sea
Of silent beauty.
Against dazzling white
And emerald green:
Cardinal on a snow-graced holly.
Rest coolly upon the fresh-fallen snow
In the soothing hush
Linda K. Kueh
As I lie here in my bath in the hot water,
surrounded by the cold white walls.
I think of you
I think of how I wanted to kiss you in the kitchen yesterday
When you looked down at me with all the want in the world
showing in your eyes.
But I couldn't because I have him and
34 you have her
But I need you the way she thinks she needs you.
So I lie here crying for you
Lying in the hot water, surrounded
by the cold, white walls.
a little girl lost
putting on makeup
hairspray in the air
trying to fit into a group
her sweater is hole-y
her jeans are frayed
what will they think of me today?
maybe they'll like me today.
LYING THERE, WATCHING YOUR SWEET
I WORRY THAT I'LL WAKE UP
AND YOU'LL BE NOTHING
BUT THE BEST DREAM I'VE EVER HAD....
"Dad," Kristy moaned, "This new house sucks! I don't care what you and mom say cause I hate
it, just hate it! It's old, it's creepy, and the kids at school say it's haunted."
"Enough Kristy," Dad ordered.
"But Daddy," Kristy whined.
"You heard me, Kristy,- I said that is enough of your nonsense. If you keep it up, you will be
"Whatever!" Kristy knew she was right because she heard the story of Porphyria at school. And
everyone understood, except for her parents, that in this old house is where it all happened.
"Kristy? Kristy. . .your father and I are leaving now to go to dinner, . . .okay?"
"hiave a good time," Kristy hollered.
After her parents left, Kristy decided she was going to prove to them that the house was
haunted. Carefully, Kristy walked from room to room trying to decide where she should start. Finally, she
decided to search the den. As Kristy walked about in the den, she discovered a passage next to the
fireplace. Carefully, she ducked her head down and entered the passage.
"Wow," Kristy muttered, "It sure is creepy in here."
"No it's not," a high-pitched voice replied.
"Who, what, where are you?" a frightened Kristy asked.
36 "I do not mean to scare you, but I have come to warn you," the high-pitched voice responded.
"My name is Porphyria and I used to live here with my gentleman friend."
"Oh my gosh! You are the story everyone at school talks about. They say you were killed here
on Halloween by your boyfriend; he strangled you or something."
"That's right. . .but he is still not satisfied."
"hHuh," Kristy interrupted, "I don't get it."
"You see, when he strangled me with my hair, he did not kill my spirit."
"You're like a ghost?"
"No, I am a spirit and I have come to warn your family about what will happen if they do not
get out by tomorrow, hialloween. This passageway is where I stay until someone finds me. It is the only
place that I can feel safe from his madness," Porphyria replied.
"What will happen?"
"He claims he will come back and search his house. If he finds people in his house, well, he will
"Okay, yeah, yeah right, whatever. . .Kristy, once again, you are letting your overactive
imagination take over," Kristy reminded herself.
"Please do not let this tragedy happen again. He will not give up,- he is very crazy. I cannot even
begin to describe the crazed look he had in his eyes the night he strangled me."
"Well, since you're the genius, what can I do to make my parents believe me. They never believe
me; I'm just a kid, so what can I do?"
"Just keep them away from the house tomorrow night, hie will go after anyone in the house."
"That sounds easy but I bet it won't be. Porphyria, how come he never captured your soul?
Porphyria? Porphyria? Porphyria?," Kristy called. From the passageway, Kristy could hear the large front
door groan as it opened. Carefully, she ran from the narrow, brick passage before anyone would find her.
"Hi, honey, we're home. Kristy, where are you?" her parents called.
"Mom, Dad, guess who was here while you were gone. Do ya give up? It was Porphyria. . .you
know, the lady who was killed in this house on hHalloween. And this house has an- awesome secret
"Young lady, before your mother and I left for dinner, I distinctly remember telling you to cut this
nonsense out. Since you have deliberately disobeyed me, you will not, and I mean not, be allowed to
go trick-or-treating with your friends."
"Come on. Dad, lighten up. Besides, if I don't go trick-or-treating, you won't get to have all my
Snickers," Kristy offered.
"That's enough Kristy. Now go to your room."
As Kristy sat alone in her room, she began to cry. She felt hopeless and had no idea what to do.
If something happened to her parents, she would be lost forever. But her parents did not want to
cooperate. As Kristy yawned, she realized she had a major problem and no one would believe her.
Kristy rubbed her eyes, not realizing how tired she was. . . .
"Kristy, Kristy, wake up sleepy head," Mom called. "Your dad and I have decided that you may
go trick-or-treating, but Dad will go along with you."
"Huh?" Kristy responded. Slowly, she glanced around her bedroom looking for something ^'
familiar. "What a terrible dream," Kristy muttered.
"Hurry up, Kristy. Let's get ready to go," Dad called.
"Okay, Dad." Carefully, she put on her costume her mom made. This year she was Cinderella.
The beautiful blue gown fit her perfectly.
"I'm ready everyone," Kristy called. As she glided down the steps, a cold, creepy feeling kept
brushing along her neck.
"You look like a princess," Dad said, as he carefully placed the crown upon her head.
"The costume is perfect," Mom announced.
"Well, Daddy, let's go before everyone else gets out." She knew she sounded much happier
than she felt and that feeling kept bothering her.
As Kristy and her dad walked from house to house, that strange feeling continued to brush
Kristy's neck. It felt as if it were trying to make her turn around. But she continued to ignore it.
Halloween is an all day event in their tiny town. By the time the sun set, Kristy began to grow
tired and just wanted to go home. Slowly, as they walked up the little stone path to their creepy house,
an ear-piercing scream startled them. When Kristy looked up at the house, she remembered Porphyria's
warning. As she approached the front door, she began to wonder if Porphyria's warning had come true.
Marie S. Zmijewski
The Light and My Beautiful Lee
Here we are again in the light of the great, blue moon
Our forbidden love can no longer be denied.
I tremble at your hesitant kiss,
As your soft lips meet mine.
For a moment I can forget the world.
Your obligations and mine
Fly away in the blue moonlight.
You pull away and softly say "I love you." 39
Though we both know we can never be each other's.
Why does it have to be like this?
My beautiful, dear, sweet Lee,
Just hold me again, then kiss me.
And for now I'll be content.
Though we'll never show our forbidden love
Except tonight in light of the great blue moon.
Scenes from the Wild Blue
All this time,
You've thousht 'twas the rain
That made those colorful sky-ribbons ~
When it was really the pixies
Building a sky bridge
To reach the other side.
The eager wind
Shepherded the fleecy clouds
Along the cool blue pasture
Of the autumn sky.
The sky today is sapphire blue,
And the clouds swirl like scattered white feathers,
As if God and FHis angels
Have been engaging in a playful pillow fight.
Snowdrops sitting on a cottonpuff cloud,
It's time ... Now ~ JUMP!
They leap into the frosty air
And plummet, faster, ever fast,
ni their parachutes burst out into fluffy white
And delicately they descend
To the waiting ground.
The sky an ice rink.
Accepts delicate etchings
Executed by perfect blades:
The Falcon takes flight.
Out of the Ashes
Love was a word ne'er you believed in,
Before, and maybe not since.
Was deceptively simple, and yet
Ten thousand words and a heartfelt estranged cry
Filled with the silence of eternal cold void.
Could not do justice to the feeling.
Was it the candle's glow at the edge of the lake.
Or forbidden nights in the sultry bed like a tomb?
The two of you searching for something very few dare.
And fewer find.
Did you catch hold of the edge?
Or maybe grab onto the stem of the Rose,
And it was your heart that bled when your finger
Was pricked by the thorn.
Screaming through the night, each your love sought the other.
Even across space, a link was made, boundless by separation,
Severed, it tore a hole through her being,
And possibly yours, but, oh, you weren't to blame.
Just because your patience ran out.
You couldn't stand the thought that she still
Questioned and searched, always deeper and further beyond.
Trying to calm a restless call
As it twisted you.
Like tortured iron in a furnace of rage,^
You broke the tie and fled.3
Did you know she still can't fill the emptiness,
the bleeding rift torn through her soul?
None could hurt her more than one she loved so much.
And as she looks into new love's eyes.
Searching for an essence, a reminder of youj
The tear that falls says all that needs saioT
While the flame held aloft will never fade.
She will be able to turn and walk towards the light of her shadow.
The memories worn as a cloak both wounding and shielding her from what lies ahead.
Dr. John Mishler
Stephanie R. Scarborough
A Mother *s Aging
There is here/
then is now.
Dreams are memories, decayed.
time circles back
as time shapes a womb ~
The English Department
is very happy to have sponsored its first
high school writing competition,
which was designed to showcase the work
of young writers in the area.
We were amazed at the talent, sensitivity, and
ear for language shown in their poetry and prose.
Our thanks and congratulations go to them, their families,
and, of course, their English teachers!
You took me as if I were food.
You devoured me and tasted me.
But once you hit my core,
You took one last bite
And broke my seeds.
Those seeds were my soul.
But you didn't care
because my juice was so sweet
and my appearance so ripe.
I poured out with flavor
and you swallowed me largely.
Once you were done,
you took one last look
and enjoyed how you loved me.
But I was over and done,
and I had no use for you.
Thrown away without a thought,
as if I had only satisfied.
You have scarred my poor soul
And tasted my love.
Because my juice was so sweet
and my appearance so ripe.
Blake Ann Miller
Council Rock High School
Mrs. Andrea Lamberth
Grade 1 2
First Place Poetry
vjrammom s Iree
Remember what it was like to be
stuck in a time somewhere
between death and immortality,
between alpha and omega,
between then and now.
A time when the serenity of youth was frozen in place.
When the zebra striped body of
Grammom's birch tree extended
its arms to the heavens in prayer.
When the ladder of smooth bark
Black . . .
When the thin branches atop that tree
held you precariously with bony fingers
and rocked you to silent beat of Nature's Song.
When its leafy hair flowed around you-
blossoming stubble in spring,
emerald in summer,
red-headed in autumn
and naked in winter.
Naked like your soul, chilled by the
thin Appalachian winds.
Naked in a time when all was pure.
Bristol Jr./Sr. High School
Grade 1 1
Second Place Poetry
I feel the word
slip through my lips,
getting caught on my tongue
I feel a release in my soul,
a release from the impossible.
Standing with me,
and against me.
The dirt road
with muddy puddles,
which dare not dry in the sun,
hiding under tall trees.
i-Q Poured over with cement,
the holes and puddles, covering the
Killing my father.
Due to imperfection, not inspite of.
Seen too late
by knowing eyes,
and no return
to what never was,
but seemed to be -
now exists inside of me,
catching the word upon my tongue.
Neshaminy High School
Grade 1 1
Third Place Poetry
El Carnaval en la Guasua
The Carnival on the Bus
(set in Puerto Rico)
One step up, the next. Once I was up those
small, rubber matted steps, I looked around for a
comfortable place to sit. I remember exactly where I sat:
window seat, second row on the right. The windows
were closed in the cool morning air. I sat there quietly on
my way to the town of Lares to buy a few necessities.
While I sat peacefully in my seat, more and
more people filled the yellow bus. A little boy of eleven
boarded the bus, his hair slicked back, dressed in his best
shirt and jeans, hie was going on the bus to town alone.
A group of teenage boys hustled on awaiting their arrival
in town, anxious to whistle at all the pretty girls they 53
chanced to see. An aged old man in his straw paba', skin
burnt by years of hard work under the tropical sun,
counted his loose change as he read a newspaper while
also stealing glimpses of the Widow Rivera. The Widow
was in her brand new, bright orange, floral sun dress with
shiny gold heels to "match." In her lap, a lap that had
bounced many a child in the past, rested her matching
Looking out the fingerprinted window, passing
palm tree after flower after fern, a little old couple of
eighty or so sold their batatas^ and platanos^ an6 pittas''
at three for a dollar in an old weather-beaten wood
stand. A group of children stood outside their home
waiting for their baby brother to be cleaned off after
falling into a pile of rotten bananas, bananas whose stains
would be come a lifelong memory.
straw hat native to Puerto Rico
Spanish sweet potatoes
Suddenly, Giga climbed on the bus in her
pink cotton dress and $1 .99 sandals that read "Puerto
Rico" on the straps. She sported a hairdo of messed up
pigtails. In her chubby hands she clutched a bag of
crunching and munching while successfully staring at each
and every person on the
bus and mumbling something under her breath. "Ay, no
no! Tienes cookie? Tienes cookie?" (O my goodness! Do
you have a cookie? Do you have a cookie?), she
repeated over and over again. Giga was the crazy,
middle-aged woman of the barrio'^. In her never-ending
search for a cookie, she ate quite well, and it showed.
She was eccentric and always stared at people with her
bottom lip hanging low and uncontrolled. She plopped
down two seats away from me asking everyone if they
had a cookie while munching on her fatty chicharrones.
it grew quite hot on the bus, and so windows
were opened. The breeze rustled through hair and blew
papers around. A woman in the back tried desperately
to salvage her hairdo, one she had spent two hours doing
so she'd look just right for her dentist appointment in
Hearing the final stop, the old eighty year-old
man who ran the piragua stand began scraping his huge
block of ice to make a fifty-cent piragua for a black-haired
little girl in a puffy, red, and sequin-covered dress
wearing a white pair of buckled patent leather shoes,
scuffed on the side after chasing her brother around the
in Latin American countries, it is the town square as well as the center of town
where the Roman Catholic Church is located
Suddenly, I heard loud roars of laughter from
the back of the bus. There, the "information operators"
of Lares were blabbing their latest bits of juicy gossip to
one another. A fifty year old woman was the center of
the conversation. She was braiding her long, grayish-
brown hair while spurting out the juiciest bit of lies
possible. "Jose dejo a su mujery sefue con la novia que-
era de Cheo!" (Jose left his wife and ran away with
Cheo's old girlfriend.) Screams and laughter roared, and
what followed was more and more gossip.
Finally, we came to the stop, and I got off
that lively bus. A little saddened, I watched as Giga
asked for a cookie, as the old man glimpsed at the
Widow Rivera, as the group of teenage boys whistled
and hollered at a young girl in a black mini-skirt walking
by, as the eleven-year-old boy walked off feeling even
older than before, and as the group of middle-aged
women laughed in the memories of that funny little ride.
Gianina Sagolla 55
Bristol High School
Grade 1 2
First Place Prose
I guess it all started when I turned
fourteen; eighth grade really took its toll on me. It
was early spring and the days had finally begun to
grow longer, a pleasant change from the darkness
that seems to encompass winter. The grass was
breaking out from under its colorless cocoon and
beginning to earn back its warm green luster. I too
was breaking out from a shell, as I slowly learned
about adolescence from the back of a general earth
science class. Now, it's funny, I can't identify
different types of clouds or the weather that each
portends, and I can't distinguish between an oak
and a maple tree, but I can remember every detail
of the Fugazi T-shirt that Debbie Green used to
wear. Green? That's so nondescript, more like
Emerald. She was too cool to be anything but the
girl who broke up with me after our first "date" to
c -. the sounds of Soul Asylum and the Gin Blossoms,
that I still listen to on occasion, when I want to
think about eighth grade and dances and things.
Dances always seemed to end in disaster
and this one was no different. As many junior high
school students as you could imagine all crowded
outside of the cafeteria doors, tickets in hand, trying
to hide their nervousness with laughter that just
ended up sounding like nervous laughter. We all
had our best clothes on, flannels unbuttoned over T-
shirts or tied around the waists of semi-new jeans,
trying to look messy and way too cool, and we
did. I got there early, despite efforts to avoid just
such a circumstance, it did have its benefits. I was
one of the first to get my hand stamped and see the
decorations on the cafeteria walls, and I got to see
everyone else come in. I knew who was there and
whom they came with, for everyone else's
information if they asked. Deb was just cool enough
to be the last one there, and her entrance was
unforsettable, mostly, I suess, because I didn't see
it. Four or five of us stood in a circle the way
eighth-graders do, with their hands in their pockets,
weight on one leg more than the other, chins relaxed
on chests with eyes fixed on the floor. I guess that's
why no one saw her come in, but she was there and
in a moment I felt the most beautiful fourteen-year-
old forearm in the world draped around my neck,
and its companions hand running playfully through
my hair. I'm still a sucker for that sort of thing. I
guess that's why. Out of all the guys in the
streamer-filled cafeteria she'd chosen to wrap herself
around my shoulders.
We were "going out," the way that
eighth-graders go out when they don't really go
anywhere because they're too embarrassed to let
their parents drive. Everyone knew Deb Green, and
now everyone knew that I was going out with her
and that was just fine with me. We had been
together for five days already and there was no 57
reason to think that we wouldn't be together for the
rest of our natural lives, but dances are funny that
way,- things always seem to change between seven-
thirty and ten-thirty. I think it's somewhere around
nine that a girl always starts to like someone else.
Dances are funny in another way too,- they're kind
of an ecstasy of inhibitions. The opportunities for a
fourteen-year-old boy on a tiled dance floor are
almost endless. There's nothing like wrapping your
arms around a girl's waist when she's just beginning
to develop hips, and you can hold her close in the
privacy of a largely fourteen-year-old mob that's just
getting over its embarrassment about the opposite
That night ended all to soon. It was dark
and a little cool when the crowd moved out to the
front of the school to wait for their parents, and
discuss out of the earshot of the chaperones who
had kissed whom with their tongues during the final
slow dance. Deb and I stood for those last few
minutes holding hands apprehensively until my mom
and dad pulled up in a run down old Buick. There's
nothing harder for a fourteen-year-old boy who's
standing with his girlfriend than to climb into the
back seat of his parent's station wagon after a
dance, except maybe climbing out of the back seat
before a dance. I think my mom asked if I had a
good time, but I'm sure that I was too cool to
answer until the second or third time she asked.
That night I stayed up late, going over the dance in
my head, thinking of all the moments that would
have been perfect for a kiss between two fourteen-
year-olds in love.
The next day I got a phone call, its
purpose to inform me that Deb and I wouldn't be
going out any longer. I don't think I asked any
questions, just said O.K. and hung up the
telephone. The following Monday had very little to
58 do with school at all; it was more like a series of
questions and explanations, and "too bad, man's."
Science class didn't really change much,- I still sat in
the back of the room, memorizing Deb's T-shirts,
less for the sake of reminiscence, and more for a
sense of consistency with the first six months of my
eighth grade year. Yeah, eighth grade really took its
toll on me, and in a way it still does.
Neshaminy High School
Grade 1 2
Second Place Prose
Nanny and the
Lure of the Ocean
I have journeyed to London, Paris, and
Montreal, yet nothing can compare to what I
learned one boiling summer afternoon on a beach in
New Jersey with my family.
"Do we have everything?" Mom
worriedly drilled Dad.
"I hope. We couldn't fit anything else in
here, anyway. Let's get going to your mother's,'
Dad replied, taking the driver's seat in our 1 987
Oldsmobile station wagon.
Any onlooker would have thought we
looked like the typical family going on the typical
family vacation. It was much more than that, though.
We slid out of our driveway, geared up
for our annual adventure to the Jersey shore.
Squished between my two older brothers, I acted
as mediator, attempting to eliminate slugs and name-
calling episodes by screaming Jike a new-born,
forcing my parents to turn around. I distinctly
remember their glares and threats of, "If you don't
stop that right now, I'm going to..." "Going to
WHAT?" I always thought silently but never dared
to say aloud. That comment quelled us for five
minutes, and then the face-making resumed.
After twenty minutes of driving, we
honked the horn and startled my grandmother,
hauling a cooler of snacks and sodas to the back
seat of the long, white Chrysler Fifth Avenue
parked before us. At age nine, I thought it was my
dream car, making me feel like a glamorous movie
star. My grandfather was reorganizing the suitcases
in the trunk, determined to have a perfect fit. After
the car was about to burst at the seams, my
grandmother held the front door wide open, and
my grandfather steadily held the pale, liver-spotted
arm of my great-grandmother, better known as
"Nanny." She wore a blue flowered dress, thick
stockings, rose-colored glasses, and those dark, thin,
plastic shades eye doctors give you after you've had
drops in your eyes. Slightly out of breath, she
reached the car. After the front door was checked
three times to make sure it was locked, our caravan
headed for the highway.
I heard my parents take deep breaths.
The two hour drive ahead would be the longest
part of our two-week vacation. Every year since I
was born, and even before then, my family had
vacationed in Ocean City, i pulled out my crinkled
loose-leaf paper, on which I had scribbled
60 everything I wanted to accomplish during the next
fourteen days: amusement rides (particularly the
Ferris wheel), the beach, the ocean, shell-hunting,
feeding seagulls... the list went on and on, and I was
determined to complete it.
Around noon, we spotted the first
seagull and finally crossed the bridge linking Ocean
City to mainland New Jersey After eating lunch at
McDonald's and picking up the key from the
realtor, we made ourselves at home in the beautiful,
beach-front home. We'd been going to the same
house since I was two, but I was always amazed
that at night the ocean could always be heard
lapping at the shore at low-tide and crashing onto
the land at high-tide.
I woke up the next morning, without the
slightest inclination that this day would be engraved
into my memory forever. I heard my parents and
grandparents whispering but dismissed it and
focused on hunting down my pail and shovel.
Today I would construct the best sandcastle ever to
exist in the history of mankind. My dad and
grandfather dragged five beach chairs from the shed
and joined my brothers, my mom, my grandmother,
and me, guiding Nanny onto the beach.
We discussed the best location to set up
camp, practically making it a science. I voted to sit
near the water, buy my parents argued that it would
be extremely crowded, hlowever, going too far from
the ocean's edge in the bone-dry sand would be
scorching. We compromised, and settled twenty
feet from the waves. My dad readily planted a chair
securely in the sand, and my mom and grandmother
assisted Nanny into it, while my grandfather held
the back, preventing it from tipping.
Anyone would have known what Nanny
desired. Eighty-nine years old and fairly ill, she
stared at the endless waves ahead of her, just out of 61
reach. She wanted to touch the water, sit in it, and
let it gently cool her swollen legs. I noticed my
parents and grandparents exchanging looks. It would
be a trial to move her to the water's edge, but we
knew it was a mission we had to complete.
"Come on. Mother. Let's go to the
water," my grandmother began. "Boys! Rich! Rob!"
They returned quickly, dripping wet, lugging a
bucket of water between them, too heavy for just
one to lift, "h^elp Nanny get to the water." They
immediately manned their positions like soldiers,
each taking a side. I sprang up and gazed at the
path ahead. No shells, no obstacles, a smoother
path lay before us.
Immediately after my brothers hoisted
Nanny to her feet, I folded the chair and darted
into the ocean. There, I positioned the chair to face
straight out into the ocean. It was perfectly stable. I
glanced behind me and saw Nanny, gingerly
choosing her steps. Her knee-length, tan cover-up
danced behind her in the slight breeze. My
brothers, the crutches, led her towards me, and my
parents and grandparents acted as back-ups, ready
to spring into action if needed, hier soles pounded
against the smooth sand. Only five more feet to go.
She took her first step of the summer
into the ocean, relieving her burning, aching feet.
The sea enveloped her ankles as she sat. We formed
a semi-circle behind her, staring into the Atlantic.
Nanny's parched lips slowly broke into a radiant
smile, gentle but strong.
Nanny passed away six months later, on
a frigid January morning, a few days after New
Year's. My grandparents, parents, brother, and I
returned to the beach house the following summer
and sat by the ocean's edge, but it just wasn't the
same and never again would be.
Upper Dublin High School
Dr. Sharon Traver
Grade 1 2
Third Place Prose
Filthy, Non-Gefilte Fish
Fishy, Fishy, in the ocean.
Awash in medicinal potions!
Vacationing Vet caught him in a net.
Bet the kids can't snare him for a pet!
Dr. Richard Ziemer
Linda K. Kuehl
There was deceit and
There was neglect and
There was pain and
There was sadness
There was selfishness and
There was you.
Now truth reigns,
ALL IS RIGHT IN
Joann B. Donigan
A fairy prince so I see,
Comes to me from his tree,
I watch him come my eyes wide,
He takes a seat by my side.
His hand raises to my face.
All at once I feel his grace,
A golden light fills my soul,
A fairy's gift so I have been told,
Forever shall I be his he speaks
And he for me for all keeps.
We rise together hand in hand.
And enter together into his land.
"Must be 18" said the sign at the gate, not
that anyone was there to check. Very few visitors even
made it to the gate. The drive was long and dark. The
sycamore trees that lined it were old and decrepit with
dead branches waving overhead in the gusty wind like
the arms of an old man flailing in the air desperately as
he falls to his death. Towering over the sycamores were
tremendous dark pines that blocked out the sun. Most
cars that began the drive to The Zoo backed out when
they saw the potholes riddling the gravel road.
Most who did enter soon regretted it. The
first few cages inside the gate were empty. The black
wrought-iron bars were twisted and rusty. Doors with
broken locks or hinges creaked as the wind blew by.
Visitors' skin crawled with the feelings of monstrous
ghosts lurking in the cages waiting for the strength to
strike again. Only the sounds from further down the
path proved that The Zoo was not abandoned.
The monsters were rattling their cages. The
bars clanged and sometimes the ground even shook.
The path between the cages was twisty and frequently
divided ~ what lay ahead could not be seen and what
lay at the end of the path was a mystery. Still, some
It was a dirty cage housing two creatures of
an unknown species. Somehow they seemed familiar.
The larger creature was clearly male and the smaller
could only be female. At first quiet, the scene quickly
turned violent. She was so much smaller than he. hie
tricked her,- he hurt her. Onward, quickly, escape from
hier cries could still be heard as the path
curved past more empty cages. Some stood empty.
clean, untouched. Instead of seeming pristine, they stood in
need of something ~ some dark and twisted horror to hide
Another bend and the darkness was
overwhelming. Within the cages, cast in shadowy darkness,
unspeakable acts were committed by various monsters uponr
all sorts of creatures. Sounds and sights numb the senses of
the visitors. Again, hurry onward, past the beasts reaching
their long arms through the bars to grab at the female
visitors. They knew what they sought.
The ground shakes. An arena houses two giant
beings ~ one dark and twisted, the other lighter, less
mangled-looking. They fight a violent, brutal fight. Clearly a
struggle to the death. The dark one wins most, the light
losing strength but fighting on. Onward, before one is
thrown from the ring.
Next are found a long series of walled,
padlocked, and barred sections. There was no way to see
within. On some the reinforcements were breaking and
whatever was held within was trying to break loose. On
others the bonds were still secure. The darkness hung in the
air. hlorrors could be felt with every breath. The path
narrowed. The fortress-like reinforcements and containments
to the cages near the ends crushed the path into a narrow
walkway with jagged edges.
The path ended at a small cage. The only sound
coming from it was a soft crying sound. Outside it lay the
dirty, tainted darkness. Within it darkness remained but
somehow different ~ cleaner, pure. The door has no lock
from the outside. It is secured instead from within by all
sorts of makeshift means. Inside, in the farthest corner, was
a small girl. She hid from any visitors and refused to leave
the cage. Forever she will be a resident of The Zoo.
The way those trees blush
Crimson red ~
I wonder what
The wind has whispered.
Ruby, amber, and orange flames
Against the smooth, cool sky
Of peacock blue.
The nut of the oak tree ^^
Wears a petite brown beret.
Glistening glazed needles
Of the cool green pine-boughs:
The tree reaches upward
To caress the sky.
It breathes celestial vapor,
It rejoices in the lambent sun.
The tree has triumphed
A lady was out one day
Shopping for her garden
She was wondering what to get
Found a clerk, and begged his pardon.
She was holding a tiny plant
In a tiny little pot
And the clerk said to her,
"That's a rhododendron you've got."
The lady said "Oh really,
Now that's very nice.
Can you tell me how it grows.
And tell me what's the price?"
He said to the lady
"It grows three or four feet.
And gets purple flowers.
The plant is really neat."
She put the plant in her trunk
And went on her merry way
She was thinking about where to put it
Up into her driveway.
She was pulling into her garage
When she saw the perfect spot
A little bare spot under the window
Now that was the perfect plot.
She put that tiny plant
Under the window pane
To think it would stay that small
Was really quite insane.
The time is ten years later
The lady is out again
Out to buy a plant
She went to where she'd been.
She found the same clerk
Not so wet behind the ears
She went running to him
Just about in tears.
"Dear Sir", she said to him
"Last time I was here
You said my plant would get four feet tall
That was just in the first year"
"In this ten year period
The rhodo has done just fine
Too fine I may add
Fifteen feet in that amount of time.
"The little plant under my window
has become a towering giant
Its habit is unruly
And its height is just defiant."
"The window is covered
With leaves and purple flowers
To prune to manageable size
Would take me many hours."
"What you sold me
Was a tiny plant in a tiny pot
Well what I've got now
Why Sir, it's a giant I've got!"
"You should see the room
To which that rhododendron goes
It's so dark and dreary
Into it no one goes.
"It's bad enough the plant's so big
it towers over others
But now it's taking over the yard
And is taking over others."
"Why oh why sir
Didn't you know
Just how far
this plant would grow?"
"It seems that now
This plant must come down
For it has taken over the yard
And is headed for the next town."
"Although I hate to see
That monster get the ax
I need light through the window
And that is just a fact."
"So after I cut the giant
Is there something you can suggest
To plant under the window
That won't tower about the rest?"
"Ma'am," the clerk said,
"I know it's been ten years
And I know my bad information
hias caused you all these tears."
"If there's one thing I've learned
After all this time here
It's just this one tip.
No rhodys under the window my dear."
"I think in your case
Perennials are best
You can keep what you want
And just pull out the rest."
"They come in many colors
And they stay pretty small
They really are no trouble
Kathleen V. Salisbury Really Ma'am, no trouble at al
Stephanie R. Scarborough
A Tale of Summer
So here I am, I thought, on this gray, dreary morning, one year away from being a
college graduate and living on sixty dollars a week paid monthly with no clue as to who I really
am or where I am going. I pulled on my raincoat and stumbled out of the renovated pig barn I
was living in, glancing at the lake in my front yard, normally a wondrous sight but today
occupying my thoughts only to the extent of, "God, I hope it doesn't flood my house." Teaching
children. What business did I have teaching children when I couldn't even hold my own life
together, let alone pass on years of learned wisdom to a bunch of six- and seven-year olds?
Dealing with the dregs of a failed engagement, my fiance leaving with the words
"You're a failure, a disappointment, and not one-third the person you could be and it's over. I'm
going to go celebrate now." I took this job and a new lover to keep my sanity, and piece
together a year and a half of broken promises, to me and by me. My lover had also left me,
conveniently on this week, and for a high school student no less. And the drive, the burning
drive in my soul to be someone, to do something important, to be better, and always falling
short, failing miserably. Show down at every bend. So I welcomed my old unwelcome friend of
depression to my abode like I would an obnoxious in-law, setting my backbone and sucking in my
gut to face the job at hand.
Speaking of jobs, I have to work this entire weekend for Snobs-R-Us, my cashier job
74 at a retail garden center. The job that I hated would put me through another semester of college
while the one I liked would only add to the confusion of my life. I stumbled my way towards the
visitor center, sloshing through mud puddles and inhaling the green scent of drizzly rain. So I work
this weekend, raising my blood pressure to record levels, while my lover gets to go and play with
the new found admiree. Someone who, unlike me, I guess, can afford a driver's license and a
little bit of freedom and has a future ahead of her.
Splash. So much for keeping these jeans clean today. The other intern is late.
Probably out scraping up another roadkill for her animal skinning project. Just last week we found
a nice dead raccoon and brought it back with us. It's in the cooler now, but we actually had to
fight over it with some weirdo who pulled up in a jeep to see if we needed him to take it for us.
"No, we're fine," we told him, "we're doing an experiment." I could see him wondering just
what the hell kind of experiment two youngsters would wish to do with a flattened raccoon. At
least he had a good story to bring home to his wife.
Oh great. The office person is in a bad mood. Well there's a surprise. What did I do
this time, stick a mailing label on crooked or something? Most likely. The assistant naturalist, in
his little Boy Scout uniform, is of course in a flurried panic. You'd think that after years of doing
this he'd realize that everything will be set up on time before the kids arrive, and all will be well.
I'm teaching the Lenni-Lenape Indian program today. Two teachers are arguing with
the head naturalist because they don't understand their programs. Oh, make something up, I feel
like telling them; the kids will appreciate it more than if you give a list of memorized facts. Thank
God, the other intern just arrived. She's been fighting with her husband again,- I can see the
strained look in her eyes.
We go out on setup, taking a little bit longer because tempers are flying everywhere
here today. We get back just in time for the kids to start arriving, driven in by parents furious
because it's raining and don't we have indoor programs for their precious children on days like
this because, of course, they'll melt in the rain? One little boy was dropped off in a t-shirt and
shorts, and is shivering. I run back to my cottage and grab an old sweatshirt for him to wear.
I hope I get the timing right on today's program because last time I ended up in the
story circle at the same time as another group and had to keep my kids practicing their Indian
walkior ten minutes on a simulated deer hunt while waiting for the other group to finish. Luckily,
this is my good group. These kids once watched a great blue heron in complete silence while it
swallowed a catfish twice the size of its head. The ordeal took ten minutes, an amazing feat when
you consider the attention span of seven-year olds.
Smile. No matter how I'm feeling, or what's on my mind, these kids are counting on
me to make their day, or at least two hours of it, interesting. I take them out into the woods to
start the Indian program. There isn't as much rain under the trees, and the rising mist is taking form
like an ethereal being. We stop and listen to the trees talk for a while, telling their sad stories
with the occasionally dripping from the branches that are the healing tears giving life to a new
We talk of the Indians who lived here, and of their respect for the land, and of what
the land looked like back then. We talk of their way of life and how it differed from ours. We
talk about the importance of being thankful to the earth for everything we take from it. We play /5
Indian games of skill and chance, skill to become better people and chance to solve debates.
We learn to make trails, and to track animals. We listen to the noises of the forest,
lost to so many in today's world of freeways and housing developments and shopping centers.
We catch an unhappy bullfrog by the pond, knowing full well, of course, that all of his buddies
are laughing their little tail-less frog butts off at him. "Look," they say, bellowing uproariously,
"that's the third time Charlie's been caught this month!"
This is the last time I will ever see this group of kids, and I want to leave them with
something. On the walk back, I decide to do an improv lesson in ecology, based on today's
wanderings and wonderings. We talk again of the difference between the land now and the land
when white settlers first arrived in this country. They point out the construction, telephone poles,
roads, development, and noise.
"Which do you personally like better?" I ask them.
They think for a moment of their Nintendos and sneakers, homes and parents' cars.
They look around at the sunlight finally clearing through the trees, dappling the ground with
sparkling jewels of dew, too beautiful and fragile to last more than a few minutes.
"This is better," they say.
"Well, is there anything you, as one person, can do? After all, the Indians lived here
10,000 years without destroying everything, whereas we've been here 400. Do you think we
can make a difference for the better?"
"No," a little boy says, "It's probably already too late. Besides, the building people
are making money."
I try to think of a response as I look into his eyes, and realize how true his words are
without his even realizing. I think of how much more I know of how much is going on in the
world than he does, and how often I've felt the same way, just giving up and giving in, especially
within the last year. Wandering aimlessly while trying to put a meaning to it all so I had a reason
to go on while even my best friends deserted me. Where am I supposed to come up with an
answer for him?
Then I thought of a story to tell, the story of the woman who founded the nature
center, a woman with seventy years of life and mischief sparkling in her eyes.
"Where we're standing was supposed to be a sports stadium. That wetlands we saw
last week was going to be a golf course. Over there would have been a parking lot," I tell them.
"Do you know what happened?"
"No, what?" a girl asks.
"One woman, the one who founded this place, decided that these trees, and these
plants, and the animals that live here were worth saving. She fought to have this place made into
a park instead, and then planted many trees, laid out the trails, and had the place protected so
everyone could enjoy it."
There is silence as they ponder this.
A little girl speaks up. I cannot recall her name, but her face is etched in my memory.
She has the face of an angel, the kind that lights up rooms with the soft, radiant glow of
childhood innocence, the kind often talked about.
She runs over to me, clutches my hand, and looks up at me earnestly. "What's the
woman's name?" she asks, and I tell her. hlugging me, she requests, "Will you tell her I said
thank you, from me and from God?"
On the walk back, I think about her words, because she hit an essential truth right on
the mark. I mean, how often does one get a thank you from a co-worker, let alone from God?
I'm here teaching, I think, because I have a lot to learn. Because hurts can be healed.
Because problems work themselves out if given love. Because a child who experiences the
wonder of life has a hard time later destroying it. And because, above all, if we learn to
remember how to listen, a seven-year old is still young enough to carry a message from God.
For Caroline J. - who remembers how to listen.
May the rest of your years be years of Grace.
All is quiet when I wake,
I walk slowly out the gate,
Nothing stirs in the trees,
Nothing but a faint breeze.
The scent of salt fills the air,
Waves hit the shore without a care,
I walk on bare feet on the sand,
I touch the water with my hand,
I go sit on top of a rock.
And wait for every thing to start to talk.
Then the earth is blessed with light.
All the birds take to flight,
Flocks of them take to the air.
Flying as though they have not a care.
Singing because it is a new day.
Having nothing more to do than play.
Then I think of the time when all is calm.
Nothing stirs before the dawn.
I have turned over so many new leaves
That my tree is upside down.
My moon is so new
It is no where to be found.
I deserted my plans.
My plans deserted me.
I am left unsure
Of what I should be.
What I valued so highly,
So long, so much
Shattered in but a moment.
Evades my touch.
The one who was my solace.
My northern star.
Fell from my sky.
The roots that were my anchor
That held me firm.
Began to die.
I must wish on new stars.
I must set new seeds.
I will wait for the waxing.
I will fight the weeds.
I will become my own constellation.
I will shine on my own.
I will nourish my seeding self
Till a new tree is grown.
What We All See
I had just finished mowing the south side
of the property and was on my way home. I was
traveling on a path that I have traveled at least a
thousand times before. I would occasionally glance
from side to side as I slowly made my way back to
the farm. Something felt quite different this time,- it
felt as if I were being watched. I turned about
halfway around in my seat and saw seven or eight
deer staring at me. This was not an unusual
circumstance, but something else was wrong. I
stopped the tractor in the middle of the path and
climbed down to the ground. I walked around to
the back of the tractor and faced the deer. I made a
few small steps in their direction and they did not
even blink. It seemed that their eyes were fixed near
the front of the tractor. I walked around to the front
of the tractor and saw what they were so patiently
watching. They were watching a small fawn less than
a foot from my front tire.
This was an unusual situation because it
was the wrong time for a doe to fawn. The tiny
fawn did not look more than an hour old. It still
seemed damp, cold, and unaware of its
surroundings. I quietly turned around and saw the
deer still staring at me, just a few feet closer now. I
climbed back up on to my tractor and backed down
the trail. As I backed by the pack of deer, I could
see a look of relief on all of their faces.
What made me stop the tractor at that
particular spot? Was it the feeling of being watched
or was it something greater? On my way back to
the farm I thought a great deal about what
happened and what made me stop. I realized that I
had become blind to my surroundings, and unaware
of what was going on around me.
I set a goal for myself that I would
become more aware of the daily happenings on the
farm. I now see the rabbits that play in the woods
and the underbrush. I see the gophers that race
across the fields and then make a dramatic dive into
their holes. I see the carp as they swim in the pond
and then dart into the darkness. I see this and all of
the other movement that happens. I now know that
I am not the only one watching them. They are also
watching me. We all live and survive off our little
farm, and now we are all just a bit closer.
The Gleaner is published during the academic year by Delaware Valley College students.
The Gleaner is a student publication and the opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of
the Gleaner staff or the administration.
Neither the College nor the staff will assume responsibility for plagiarism unknowingly